herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Dad gunned down as his son aged 12 screamed in terror

Declan O'Reilly was shot
Declan O'Reilly was shot
Scene on South Circular Road where Declan O'Reilly was shot dead

A man was gunned down in front of his 12-year-old son as they walked home to let off some fireworks together, an inquest heard.

Declan O'Reilly (32) from Parnell Road in Crumlin, Dublin, was shot dead on the South Circular Road, Dublin 8, on the evening of September 24, 2012.

At the inquest into his death at Dublin Coroner's Court, Dr Brian Farrell said it was a "particularly cruel and really appalling shooting".

Gardaí told the jury that O'Reilly, who had previously been acquitted of murdering a fellow inmate in Mountjoy Prison, was not in fear for his life at the time of the shooting.

DRUGS

The inquest heard that when he was shot, O'Reilly was on the phone with Moyra O'Neill, a member of the Rialto Community Drug Team.

He had been released from prison earlier in the year and had contacted her with a view to making a plan to come off drugs.

"He wanted to go to college, to get an education. More so for his son Stuart. He talked about Stuart all the time", she said.

She was discussing a computer course with him when she heard him curse at someone and the phone became muffled. "I said 'Declan are you there?' And then I heard him say in a calm voice 'Stuart, get an ambulance'," she said.

Stuart and his father were helped by Caroline O'Neill and Nathan McGibney, flatmates who lived nearby and who went to help when they heard gunshots outside.

While Mr McGibney tried to keep O'Reilly conscious, Ms O'Neill stayed with Stuart. She said she asked Stuart who had shot his father.

"He told me they were in a car, a black car and that they drove off toward town and he pointed toward the city centre. I asked him what type of car but he shook his head and said he didn't know. I asked Stuart did he know who they were but he said he didn't," she said.

Garda Niall Godfrey told the inquest that when he spoke to Stuart, the boy told him that he and his father were on their way to let off some fireworks and had just passed the National Stadium when the shooting happened.

"Stuart heard two shots behind him, he saw his father fall to the ground. He saw a man wearing all black running to the end of the road and jumping into a black car facing in the direction of Leonard's Corner and then it drove off," he said.

O'Reilly was taken to St James's Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

O'Reilly had been shot multiple times with 11 entry and exit wounds in total.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by persons unknown.

hnews@herald.ie

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